23 Jan 2021

Network radios

A few years ago, I bought a network radio. This looks like a 2m handheld but uses the internet to connect to distant stations using systems like Echolink. It works over WiFi or mobile phone networks. 

Since I bought it, I hardly use it. For me, network radios are just not satisfying. It has a PTT and is very similar to a VHF or UHF handheld. One of the fun things is working stations via distant repeaters e.g. in the USA or Australia.

Personally, I prefer "real" radio, although for some these are a good substitute.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/network

Salcombe Devon - NOT amateur radio

As a child, I was brought up in Salcombe, Devon. The video below was filmed in summer 2020. It is a virtual tour in 4K (ultra high definition) through the town. Not much social distancing evident!

2020 was one of the rare years when I did not go back to my roots. Hopefully in 2021 at a time when it is less busy I shall get back there.

IC-705 UK dealer prices

In Europe, with a free 3 year warranty and VAT the ICOM IC-705 sells for 1317.6 Euros. In the UK the list price is £1299.95 (with VAT) with the 5 year warranty on top as an extra.  Just saying....

Even with any carriage and import duties, why the difference?

Clearly, there is comfort from buying from a UK dealer who speaks English, but.....???

See https://www.xbstelecom.eu/shop/en/non-aff-icom/2004-icom-ic-705-hf50144430mhz-5w-10w.html?search_query=ic-705&results=30

2m FT8 QRP (Saturday)

In a short while I hope to go on 2m FT8 with 2.5W and the big-wheel omni. Yesterday I had 1 QSO, but was widely spotted despite my low ERP signal. 

Although the conventional wisdom is this is due to aircraft reflection, I am still puzzled: these DX spots seem to occur at almost any time, so I am wondering if FT8 is allowing QRP stations to access some scatter modes that would not be possible with CW or SSB at these ERPs?

I expect my 2m FT8 reports are a mix of tropo, aircraft and other scatter, possibly with some random MS. Not quite sure how long an MS burst has to get a successful FT8 decode. I suspect far less than the 15 seconds a TX FT8 burst lasts.

My ERP is probably less than 5W.  The big-wheel has a little horizontal gain, but the coax has some loss.

UPDATE 1034z:  My 2m FT8 QRP was turned on at 0955z. So far, 10 spots of my QRP TX including (again) EI2FG (565km) and 5 spots on RX.

UPDATE 1105z: 13 stations have so far spotted my QRP 2m FT8 TX.

UPDATE 1508z: 
16 spots of my 2m FT8 QRP TX today including EI and GI as the map shows.

UPDATE 1931z: 18 stations have spotted my 2m FT8 QRP TX today.

Cambridge 2012 - NOT amateur radio

This photo from 2012 shows my wife and grandson near the Bridge of Sighs in St John's College. 

Normally the colleges are very busy with visitors from overseas, especially the Far East. Not in the last 12 months!

CDARC AGM via Zoom

Last night, the Cambridge radio club (CDARC) held it AGM via Zoom. With 25 "attendees", it was very successful. Next year, assuming the Covid-19 pandemic has ended, I expect we will meet in person again. Once again this proves to me that we can always find a way.

The Cambridge club has held lots of talks using Zoom, and they have all be great.

Sunspots - Saturday January 23rd 2021

 Solar flux is 78 and the SSN 39.  A=4 and K=0. 

22 Jan 2021

2m FT8 QRP (Friday)

This evening from 2000z I have been on 2m FT8 using 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. So far I have been spotted by 7 stations in 3 countries on TX. 

January - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows Anglesey Abbey on a cold and frosty January morning. 

We went for a walk there earlier. 

More humour - NOT amateur radio

This was sent to me yesterday. it brought a smile to my face.

Old and new - NOT amateur radio

A few years ago, a pub car park became a building site. 

The new houses have now been finished as the before and after photo shows.

When we first came to this village near Cambridge, the population was under 5000. It is now almost 7000. It seems every spare space is a chance to make builders money. Sadly there are few houses for ordinary folk as the profits would be too low.

Sunspots - Friday January 22nd 2021

Solar flux is 78 and the SSN 26. A=2 and K=0.

21 Jan 2021

Hyacinths - NOT amateur radio


Every year my wife grows a pot of hyacinths. These are just coming out. They smell fantastic.

See https://www.almanac.com/plant/growing-hyacinth-muscari

FT8 and breakfast spread

There is no doubt that FT8 has divided the amateur community . 

On the plus side every day my 2m QRP to a  simple non-directional antenna is copied in EI and GI. FT8 has made this possible. At the same time there is less chatting, especially with modes that casual listeners will chance upon.

It is a bit like Marmite (a UK yeast spread) that some love and some hate. 

I have mixed views. With my poor voice FT8 has been a godsend. At the same time I don't want less chatting on the bands. 

Village churches - NOT amateur radio


The photo shows the churches in our village. Only 2 are still in use as churches. Like pubs, many are now private houses.

IC-705, IC-7300 and IC-9700 firmware updates

Southgate News reports that a firmware update to these ICOM products is due at the end of January.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2021/january/new-fimware-updates.htm#.YAmcZ_GTLrc

2m FT8 QRP (Thursday)

Since about 1505z, I have been on 2m FT8 with the usual 2.5W and big-wheel omni antenna. So far today, just 1 spot of me by G0LRD (26km).

UPDATE 1724z:  9 stations in 4 countries have spotted me today. It would seem EI and GI spots are an everyday thing even with real QRP.  No QSOs yet. 7 stations in 4 countries have been spotted here so far.

UPDATE 1820z: 11 stations in 4 countries spotted on 2m RX. On QRP TX 11 station in 4 countries spotted. No QSOs. My technique is to call CQ and wait, which is the lazy way. If I called stations I am sure I'd get more contacts.

Spots of my QRP today
on 2m FT8 TX
UPDATE 2120z:
  So far today I have spotted 20 stations in 5 countries on 2m FT8 RX and I have been spotted by 14 stations in 4 countries on 2m FT8 TX with the furthermost being EI2FG (565km).  QRT soon. 

Sunspots - Thursday January 21st 2021

Solar flux is 77 and the SSN 25. A=6 and K=0. 

20 Jan 2021

Treewashing - NOT amateur radio

At nearby Anglesey Abbey, some of the silver birch trees have their bark washed so they look at their best. See the photo.

UK prices for the IC-705

It seems odd to me that the XBS Telecom price (Europe) with included 3 year warranty and VAT is a fair bit lower than the price from any UK dealer. As an example, a 5 year warranty is extra from MLS.  By the way, MLS say that all their IC-705 transceivers come from ICOM UK.

Like the IC-7300 I am convinced the IC-705 is being market priced (if the punters will pay, then do not drop the price). Most are working on the assumption that if the radio is wanted enough, then we will pay. It seems if you want an IC-705 from a UK dealer, you have to accept the market price.

I am all for fair prices as I want dealers to still be there, but I do not like to be exploited. 

Any views?

2m FT8 QRP (Wednesday)

It is now 0955z. For about 30 minutes I have been on 2m FT8 using 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna.  Already 8 spots of my QRP with the furthermost EI2FG (565km). I am amazed that my tiny signal gets this far every single day on 2m.

UPDATE 1342z:   12 spots of my QRP signal so far today on 2m FT8 TX.

UPDATE 1615z:  15 stations have spotted me on TX and I have spotted 12 stations on RX. The furthermost on RX is DL6YBF (410km).

Stations that have
spotted me today
on 2m FT8 QRP
UPDATE 1802z:
  18 stations have spotted me today on QRP 2m FT8 TX. 17 stations spotted here on RX. 

UPDATE 2208z:   25 stations spotted on 2m FT8 RX. 17 stations in 6 countries have spotted me on 2m  FT8 TX. QRT shortly.

Sunspots - Wednesday January 20th 2021

 Solar flux is 78 and the SSN 14.  A=6 and K=2.

19 Jan 2021

2m FT8 QRP (Tuesday)

At about 2020z, I QSYed to 2m FT8 QRP using 2.5W and the big-wheel omni. So far, I have been spotted by 4 stations on TX with the furthermost G7RAU (461km). On 2m FT8 RX just 1 station spot ted so far this evening.

UPDATE 2101z: already my QRP has been spotted by EI2FG (565km) as well as 6 others. On 2m FT8 RX I have spotted 4 stations with DL6YBF (410km) the furthermost.

UPDATE 2305z: QRT. 

New digital mode coming?

Southgate News reports that a new digital mode may be coming later this year called Q65 as part of WSJT-X suite.  I have just downloaded the latest release candidate for WSJT-X (2.3.0-rc3), but I have not checked if it is there. 

See https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/Q65_Quick_Start.pdf

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2021/january/new-digital-protocol-q65.htm#.YAbrz_GTLrc

Lunch out - NOT amateur radio

Two years ago we went to the old wool town (village?) of Lavenham. We ate out at a small cafe. Do you remember those days when we could travel?? 😊  The photo shows our lunch.

Funny how a trip to the local bakers is now exciting! I expect when this pandemic is largely over we will value the small things denied us all.

USA future - NOT amateur radio

Tomorrow the new USA president is sworn in. I hope that President Trump is magnanimous and his followers respect democracy.

Me in 1959 - NOT amateur radio

One of my FaceBook memories today was this photo of me taken at a junior school sports day in 1959, when I still had hair! I am on the left. Some changes since!

6m FT8 QRP (Tuesday)

It is now 1042z. For the last few minutes I have been on 6m FT8 with 2.5W and the V2000 omni vertical. 2 spots of me so far with the furthermost M0AGP (122km).

UPDATE 1102z: Now spotted strongly by OL7M (1128km). Winter Es or aircraft? Probably aircraft.

UPDATE 1112z: 5 stations have spotted me so far. Amazing. No spots on 6m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1152z: Just one station spotted on 6m FT8 RX so far today: G4FKA (206km).The photo shows the stations spotting me today so far. 

UPDATE 1424z:  Now 4 stations spotted on RX with furthermost being G8EEM (208km).

Sunspots Tuesday January 19th 2021

 Solar flux is 75 and the SSN 13.  A=4 and K=2.

18 Jan 2021

2m FT8 (QRP) Monday

I am mainly on 2m FT8 RX using the FT817ND and big wheel. When briefly on TX at 2.5W the report on G0LRD's (26km) grabber was poor, suggesting something is wrong either with the rig or antenna. On RX things seem to be as expected. Odd. The output power seemed low as if the SWR was poor.

The SWR looks fine, so this might be another fault in the FT817ND. Tomorrow I might try with a dummy load, and then the FT991A.

Village collage - NOT amateur radio


This is a collage of village scenes seen yesterday on our walk. It was cold, but sunny.

20m FT8 RX

 It is now 1205z. For about an hour I have been on 20m FT8 RX with the FT817ND and the indoor loop. So far, 188 stations spotted on RX.

UPDATE 1434z:   Now on 2.5W TX too. So far today, 424 stations spotted on 20m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1900z:   2 stations have spotted me on TX and 503 stations spotted on 20m FT8 RX today.

Sunspots - Monday January 18th 2021

Solar flux is 77 and the SSN 23.  A=2 and K=0.

17 Jan 2021

2m FT8 QRP (Sunday)

At 1954z, I QSYed to 2m FT8 QRP using the usual 2.5W and big-wheel omni antenna. So far, 5 stations have spotted me with the furthermost being EI2FG (565km). This sort of range is always possible even with my QRP set-up. It is now 2002z. Nothing spotted on RX yet.

UPDATE 2225z:  After 4 QSOs this evening, now QRT.

QSY to 20m FT8 QRP (Sunday)

As 10m was pathetic here I QSYed to 20m FT8 at about 1517z using 2.5W to the tiny indoor loop. 

At 20m this is so tiny that it does not look like it could ever work! 

At 1525z lots of USA stations already spotted. So far, 23 stations spotted on 20m FT8 RX, but nobody has yet spotted me on TX.

UPDATE 1810z: 1 station has spotted me on 20m FT8  QRP TX and 59 stations spotted on RX. The stations spotted are shown on the map. 

Church bells - NOT amateur radio

One of the things I've missed recently is hearing the local church bells ring. As well as the clock that strikes on the hour, there is a peel of bells used for change ringing. 

10m FT8 QRP (Sunday)

For about 30 minutes I have been on 10m FT8 with the tiny indoor loop antenna and 2.5W. No spots yet. 

UPDATE 1440z:  Still no spots today.

Sunspots - Sunday January 17th 2021

 Solar flux is 78 and the SSN 15. A=4 and K=2.

16 Jan 2021

"A journal of the plague year" by Daniel Defoe - NOT amateur radio

For Christmas, my wife bought me this book.  Although things were very different in 1665 (and the death toll higher then), it is surprising just how similar things were to the current pandemic. It is available in many formats from Amazon.

Earlier, I read Defoe's book about his trip around Britain, which was fascinating.

This book on the plague was harder reading, but worth it.

See https://www.amazon.co.uk/Journal-Plague-Year-Illustrated-Daniel/dp/B086M2VZYN

2m FT8 grabber

This has been mentioned before, but I find the 2m FT8 grabber just west of Cambridge run by David G0LRD very useful.  If you want to see what your 2m FT8 signal looks like near Cambridge, this is your chance. 

My signal at 26km is usually +9 to +12dB S/N. If you are far away, it will probably be much weaker. 

Most times there are signals from all sorts of places coming through. Even in flat conditions I can usually see German stations.

If you are in range, you too might find it of use.


New radios

Buying a new transceiver here is a big decision for me. 

When I buy one, it is usually kept for many years. I quite fancy the IC-705 as a QRP enthusiast, but it seems expensive. I do not expect the price to drop unless they get real competition.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/new

2m FT8 QRP (Saturday)

It is now 1257z and I have just turned on my 2m QRP - 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. Already 7 stations have spotted me.

UPDATE 1449z: 18 stations have spotted my QRP 2m signal so far today (see photo).

UPDATE 2125z:  QRT.  28 spots of me in 6 countries with the furthermost being a spot by EI2FG (565km).

Hornet tree - NOT amateur radio

This tree was felled last year. It is at nearby Anglesey Abbey owned by the National Trust. 

For years there was a hornet's nest in the tree. For all I know, it could still be there.

Another successful Zoom talk

Last night, the Cambridge radio club (CDARC) had another well attended Zoom talk. Yet again this included a member in Canada. The talk was by Ray G4FON on learning Morse code, using his highly successful training course based on the Koch method. The secret seems to be to hear the sound of the letters much as a foreign language and not to try to write it down.

I am a great fan of Zoom as we can enjoy the talks from the comfort of our own homes. Also, people around the world can take part. Of course, by holding "virtual" meetings, we miss the face-to-face contacts, but Zoom with video is far better than I expected.

See http://www.g4fon.net/CW%20Trainer2.php

Promise - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday at nearby Anglesey Abbey we saw this hellebore. Yet another promise of better days ahead. 

It is still mid-January and as I write we have cold driving rain.

136kHz beacon TX

This is the beacon TX I used on 136kHz at the old QTH some years ago. At this QTH I have only been (briefly) on 136kHz RX. Taht was with Opera weak signal software using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. If I was fitter I ought to try some 136kHz RX again.

Sunspots - Saturday January 16th 2021

Solar flux is 73 and the SSN 13. A=3 and K=2.

15 Jan 2021

E-field probes

There is a common myth that VLF, LF and MF antennas have to be big. Whilst this is true for radiated TX antennas, this is absolutely not true on RX. 

In the past I have used E-field probes very successfully on 136kHz RX and good ones can be quite as good (or better) than large antennas and can work from VLF to 30MHz despite being very tiny. Typical ones are just a few cms long.

One of mine, used taped to the window, is shown in the photo. Normally they are placed outdoors away from noise sources. They work because as antennas get smaller the signal level falls, but so does the noise. At low frequencies external noise usually dominates.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/antennas/efp.

Winter promise - NOT amateur radio

January can be a miserable time of the year: days are short and cold and the evenings are dark and long. Everywhere looks dead.

However there is a promise of better days ahead. Soon it will be the daffodils, which are around until late spring.

Already snowdrops are pushing up and coming into flower. Promise. 

Then the buds start to appear and you sense stirrings......

2m FT8 QRP (Friday)

It is now 1125z and I have been on 2m FT8 for about 10 minutes. So far, my 2.5W to the big-wheel has been spotted by 11 stations on TX and 1 station spotted on RX.

UPDATE 1225z: 12 stations have spotted my QRP on TX and 14 stations in 4 countries spotted here on RX. 1 QSO.

UPDATE 1630z:  24 stations in 5 countries has spotted me so far today on 2m QRP TX with 2 QSOs.

UPDATE 1826z:  27 stations in 6 countries have spotted my 2m FT8 QRP so far today.

2m FT8 QRP (Thursday evening)

Last evening I was on 2m FT8 using 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. Although as usual I was spotted in EI and GI, not a single station was spotted here on RX. I am pretty sure all was working here. Odd. 

Sunspots - Friday January 15th 2021

 Solar flux is 74 and the SSN 0. A=2 and K=0. 

14 Jan 2021

Amateur radio cartoon

This was on Messenger from Steve G1KQH although I have no idea where it originated. 

OFCOM report

 OFCOM has published a report on emerging technologies. See the OFCOM website for more details.


These QRP radios are now widely available in Europe. The price is still high and, if like the IC-7300, will not drop unless they face real competition. 

The nearest competition is the Yaesu FTDX10, but this is not a 5/10W radio and does not have 2m and 70cm, but does have an ATU and 4m.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/ic705.

Art with Ed - NOT amateur radio

Previously I mentioned the YouTube video made by my grandson Edward who is 11 years old. The collage shows some of the pages. 

See youtube.com/watch?v=sVmWwYbh8Co

15m FT8

At 0854z I went on 15m FT8 with 2.5W and the tiny indoor loop. 

So far (0935z), 8 RX spots. It is a dreadful day outside: cold and rainy. 

I get the feeling 15m is only just open today. I have seen far better days. 

UPDATE 1322z:  9 spots of my 2.5W QRP FT8 so far.

UPDATE 1526z: 16 spots of my 2.5W with the furthermost K1CA (5246km). On RX 156 stations spotted with the furthermost YB3LZ (12245km).

UPDATE 1925z: 26 spots of my 2.5W to the indoor loop antenna today on 15m FT8 TX. 

Anglesey Abbey - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows Anglesey Abbey a few years ago. 

Old House - NOT amateur radio

One of the oldest houses in the village is this one shown in the photo. 

Sunspots - Thursday January 14th 2021

 Solar flux is 73 and the SSN 0. A =4 and K=0.

13 Jan 2021

Wymondham, Norfolk - NOT amateur radio

Some of my wife's ancestors came from Wymondham in Norfolk. The town is just west of Norwich. 

It has an unpretentious town centre and a fine abbey with 2 towers. 

Some of the family moved to industrial Sheffield in the 19th century for work - what a contrast!

Art video - NOT amateur radio

My 11 year old grandson has produced an educational video as shown. Although I am a bit biased, I think it is good. He is a very good artist and there some examples of his work on my main website. These are now some years old.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/home/art.

2m FT8 QRP (Wednesday)

Since about 1825z, I have been on 2m FT8 with 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. 4 stations have spotted me so far with the furthermost being G7RAU (461km) in Cornwall. No stations yet spotted on RX and no QSOs yet.

UPDATE 2103z:  10 stations have spotted my 2.5W QRP FT8 so far tonight (see map). I keep an eye on my signal at

UPDATE 2107z:  Spotted by 14 stations in 4 counties so far. No QSOs.

432MHz activity contest

Every month the RSGB organises an activity contest on the second Tuesday of the month on 70cm. Better stations were working Germans. As usual I was on with my poor voice, 10W and 2m big-wheel omni antenna.  In 40 minutes I managed 4 SSB QSOs out to 105km. .Then I gave up!

Sunspots - Wednesday January 13th 2021

Solar flux is 73 and the SSN 0.  A=9 and K=1.

12 Jan 2021


In Scotland, there was a visible aurora last night. The BBC was full of pictures of this today. 

I am not sure how far south it was visible. I have not heard if there were VHF QSOs via this aurora. When access to 6m was first granted I recall having a 6m auroral QSO using 1W CW and a wire dipole.

Another 8m winter Es QSO

This afternoon there was another DX QSO on 8m between EI and 9A.  This was winter Es.

I expect this band to be available more widely in the years to come.  At first it will be individuals asking their local authorities for spot frequencies. Sandwiched between 10m and 6m, this could be a most interesting allocation. Even a very narrow allocation and low power initially would be useful.

Sonic boom - NOT amateur radio

Years ago we used to hear the sonic boom from Concorde at my parents house in Devon every night. At lunchtime we heard another loud bang that turned out to be a sonic boom. An RAF Typhoon jet was scrambled to escort a civilian plane that had lost communications into London Stansted airport. It was very loud and we thought at first it was something on our roof.

G3KKD Silent Key

One of the regulars on our Monday night East Cambs net died of a heart attack last night. Ian G3KKD was a regular who rarely missed.  As we get older more and more of us will be SKs. Still sad though. None of us expected this. Ian was keen right to the end.

He was especially keen on ATV and had recently experimented with digital.

Church Lane - NOT amateur radio

At this time of year every thing appears dead.  There is mud everywhere!

Look more closely and there are signs of new life. 

Only this morning I saw a field of winter wheat and snowdrops are beginning to flower as in the lane leading to our local church. Another month and there will be daffodils common and buds just starting to appear.

January is one of the most depressing times of the year. At least days are getting longer and spring is coming.

OFCOM Communications Monthly

 OFCOM has updated its statistics in its Communications Monthly. See the OFCOM website for details.

15m FT8 RX

At the moment I am on 15m FT8 RX using the FT817ND (2.5W) and the tiny indoor loop. 27 stations already spotted after just a few minutes with the furthermost 5Z4VJ (6858km).

UPDATE 1212z: 219 stations spotted so far on 15m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1520z:  Recently, I decided to go on QRP TX on 15m FT8. So far 7 stations have spotted me. 437 stations spotted so far on 15m FT8 RX with the indoor loop.

Stations spotting me
UPDATE 1850z: 36 spots of me and 2 QSOs - amazing for such a tiny indoor loop and true QRP (see photo of the spots of me an hour ago). 651 stations spotted here on 15m FT8 RX today.

Stations spotted here 
today on 15m FT8 RX
UPDATE 1926z: 
662 stations in 5 continents spotted on 15m FT8 RX today.

Dayton 2021 cancelled

My friend Steve G1KQH has forwarded me an announcement that the Dayton Hamvention, perhaps the biggest ham gathering in the world, has been cancelled for 2021. This is obviously as a result of fears over Covid-19. I guess we all feared this. They hope to hold it again next year. 

This is the place where many manufacturers announce new products.

Sunspots - Tuesday January 12th 2021

 Solar flux is 73 and the SSN 0 . A=14 and K=3.

11 Jan 2021

2m FT8 QRP (Monday)

Since late Monday afternoon I was on 2m FT8 with 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. All the usual stations were spotted.  DL6YBF (410km) was the furthermost on RX with EI2FG (565km) my furthermost on 2.5W TX. In all, 15 stations spotted me. At 2130z, I went QRT.

Yaesu FTDX10

Yaesu has just released its new hybrid 100W SDR transceiver the FTDX10. It is based on the FTDX101. 

I wonder if Yaesu is considering an SDR QRP rig to replace the FT817/818 and to compete with the IC-705? 

The new radio does not cover 2m and 70cm, but does have an auto ATU, although I expect the range is limited. It also includes 4m TX.  It is a fair bit more expensive than the IC-705.

At the moment I am torn. As a QRP fan I have owned 2 FT817s and several other Yaesu products. They have all been reliable. The standard Yaesu warranty is 3 years. 

Although I stand to be corrected, I do not think the Yaesu radio has the GPS and Bluetooth features that the IC-705 has. At the moment, the IC-705 is still better in my view.

15m FT8 (Monday)

At the moment I am on 15m FT8 RX. At the moment 2 Europeans showing on 15m FT8 RX, although an early spot was a V51 on my screen, but not PSKreporter. Not sure why this did not appear. Did my internet disappear for a short time?

Stations spotted
to 1306z
UPDATE 1306z: 
50 stations in 4 continents spotted on 15m FT8 RX so far today.

UPDATE1458z:  Although I am TX too (2.5W to the indoor loop) nobody has yet spotted me. 54 stations so far spotted on RX in 5 continents.

Sunspots - Monday January 11th 2021

Solar flux is 73 and the SSN 0. A=3 and K=0.

10 Jan 2021

QSY to 2m FT8 QRP (Sunday)

Just before 1700z, I QSYed from 10m to 2m FT8 QRP. I am running 2.5W to the big-wheel omni antenna.  Already I have spotted 2 stations and my QRP has been spotted by 9 stations.

Stations spotting my
2.5W 2m FT8 this evening 
UPDATE 2300z: QRT. 

Life - NOT amateur radio

Some days ago I mentioned the estimates for the number of planets in the visible universe. The numbers are staggering. Assuming just a very small number of these have intelligent life, that still leaves a huge number. 

I have no idea how many humans have existed over time, but I am estimating 10,000,000,000.  To be a conscious being alive today on Earth is an incredible thing. Just think, if just one of our ancestors had not had children then we would not be here. Amazing.

No doubt in the years to come our understanding of the universe will change dramatically, but one could be forgiven for thinking each of us is unimportant, yet the opposite seems to be true. Each of us seems important and our love and kindness seem to matter.

No, life and consciousness are deep mysteries. Most religions try to answer these issues, but only hint. All seem too small.

10m FT8 QRP (Sunday)

Since about 1140z, I have been on 10m QRP FT8 with 2.5W and the indoor loop. No spots yet.

UPDATE 1644z:  No spots today on 10m FT8. 

UPDATE 1715z: Just a single local QSO all day.

Muddy walk - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows our walk last week. It was muddy! 

G3XBM history

My history in amateur radio goes right back to the early 1960s.  On my main website is a page about my history. In all those years we have seen many changes in our hobby. I still enjoy it.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/history

Sunspots - Sunday January 10th 2021

 Solar flux is 74 and the SSN 0.  A=3 and K=1

9 Jan 2021

Less meat? - NOT amateur radio

Although I enjoy meat I am sure I could be perfectly happy as a vegetarian or even vegan. Looking at non-meat recipes they look just as good and are no doubt better for the planet. Over time I am sure that adverts will persuade us to eat less meat. It doesn't bother me. Quite a few people are trying to go meatless in January. They probably save money too. 

Oscar 100 activity

Activity levels on the narrowband transponder of the geosynchronous satellite Oscar 100  seem to be quite high today. My quick look on the Web SDR at Goonhilly Downs in Cornwall was late afternoon in Europe.

2m FT8 RX (Saturday)

It is now 1339z.  A short while ago I went on 2m FT8 RX with the FT817ND and big-wheel omni antenna. So far G4YTM (179km) spotted and 3 other Gs. Furthermost is 2E1EMK (182km).

UPDATE 1353z:   Now 6 stations in 2 countries spotted.

Spots of me to
1620z on 2m FT8
TX (2.5W)
UPDATE 1620z:   
47 stations spotted so far today on 2m FT8 RX. Now on TX (2.5W) and 16 spots of me so far today.

UPDATE 1700z:  20 spots of my QRP (2.5W to the big-wheel omni) 2m FT8 today so far.

Stations spotted
today on
2m FT8 RX
UPDATE 2147z: 74 stations spotted on RX and 33 stations have spotted me on QRP TX today. 

UPDATE 2152z:  QRT. 2m FT8 QRP never fails.

Hope - NOT amateur radio

Cheerfulness cheer us up at this time of year. See photo.

The snowdrops are appearing  now, and the daffodils will soon be out.

Sunspots - Saturday January 9th 2021

 Solar flux is 75 and the SSN 0. A=2 and K=1.

8 Jan 2021

2m FT8 QRP (Friday)

At about 1920z, I QSYed to 2m FT8 with 2.5W to the big-wheel omni antenna. So far this evening, I have been spotted by 5 stations on TX  and I have spotted 1 station on 2m FT8 RX. It is now 1926z.

Winter Walk - NOT amateur radio

This morning we went for a walk around Anglesey Abbey. The photo shows the winter walk. 

There were a few snowdrops and daffodils out.  Another month things will be very different.

15m FT8

This morning I am again monitoring 15m FT8 RX with the FT817ND and indoor loop. So far (at 0949z) 22 stations spotted.

UPDATE 1415z:  43 stations spotted on RX. Now on QRP TX (2.5W), but nobody has spotted me.

Stations spotting my
to the tiny indoor
loop on 15m today
UPDATE 1906z: This afternoon my QRP 15m FT8 TX was spotted by 9 stations including 3 in the USA with the furthermost being AK4QR (6846km).  Not bad with my FT817ND and the tiny indoor loop.

Sunspots - Friday January 8th 2021

Solar flux is 75 and the SSN 0. A=6 and K=0.

Trump - NOT amateur radio

It amazes me that so many people within the USA voted for Trump. Clearly he has a following in the USA whereas many outside of the USA think him stupid. 

Banana warehouse - NOT amateur radio

This photo is over 100 years old. It shows the banana warehouse in Sheffield owned by the great grandfather of my wife. Years ago my wife visited it and remembers the smell of all those bananas.

7 Jan 2021

New carpet cleaner - NOT amateur radio


We bought a new carpet cleaner this week. We tried it out in a small, little used room. It seems to be fine. 

The photo shows me using it.